Our teachers

String Programme


Helen Brinkman

Teacher of Cello

Helen Brinkman is a graduate of Victoria University of Wellington having completed an honours degree in both baroque and modern cello performance. She continued her studies in baroque performance, completing a postgraduate diploma at the Royal Conservatorium in The Hague, The Netherlands where she studied with Jaap ter Linden. Helen co-founded NZ Barok with Graham McPhail in 2004. She has played continuo for and performed with many leading soloists, music ensembles and choirs within New Zealand and overseas including Andreas Scholl, Pepe Becker, Jayne Tankersley, Musica Sacra, Kowhai Baroque (Founder 2000-2003), Extempore, Bach Musica NZ, Piper's Sinfonia, Baroque Voices, Cantoris Choir & The Wellington Baroque Players. Alongside her performing career Helen is the Commercial Director of NZ Barok, cello tutor (Associate - IRMTNZ) for the Tironui Music Trust and Kelston Music Centre and is the Big Kids Facilitator at Mairangi Bay Playcentre.

Ming-Sui Kao

Teacher of Violin

Jennie Khan

Teacher of Cello and Double Bass

Jennie began her music career growing up in Auckland. She was a regular member in the cello section of several youth orchestras and began performing professionally in musical theatre, string quartets and as a soloist during her final years at college. Travelling overseas, she continued performing in orchestras in England and France, developing her enthusiasm for a wide variety of musical styles and traditions. She spent time volunteering in a community music school in Costa Rica and an orphanage in Tanzania. There she had the opportunity to immerse herself in the culture and music, also gaining invaluable experience working with children from very different backgrounds and abilities. Having had many  years teaching experience, she enjoys exploring different teaching styles and appreciates the importance of developing the personal and emotional side of the art form, as well as technique. Jennie performs regularly as a member of the Manukau Symphony Orchestra, on session recordings, as an occasional member of local indie bands, and within theatrical performances. She is passionate about teaching students of all ages, currently teaching in various schools as well as her private studio. Her approach encourages students to develop an enthusiasm for playing through multiple mediums, musical appreciation, interpretation and high technical standards.

Richard Pickard

Teacher of Double Bass

Andrew Robinson

Teacher of Violin

Based in Mount Roskill, Andrew is a private violin teacher who has been teaching with Tironui since 2017. After graduating from the University of Auckland in 2016 with a Performance Honours degree on Violin learning from Stephen Larsen, he has worked continually on improving and researching pedagogy, including going to Helsinki to observe teaching for the Colourstrings method in 2018. Outside of researching for his own students, he finds time to regularly practise and improve his own playing and plays with professional casual orchestras in Auckland, including as a casual player with the Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra. For spare time he is also a karate instructor with GKR and a brown belt, as well as just generally enjoying life and eating lots of dark chocolate!


Robin Snape

Teacher of Cello and Double Bass

Robin grew up in Auckland, studied at Otago and Auckland Universities, and pursued postgraduate study at the Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester, where she worked and taught as a freelance cellist. Robin teaches the cello, and is a member of the Nikau String Quartet, a group with a passion for playing great music from classics by Bach to jazz. As cello teacher with the trio of string teachers including Lyn Insley and Loata Mahe, Robin has worked for TMT since 2008, and now teaches Year 5 and 6 students at Papatoetoe East Primary, and Year 7 and 8 students at Papatoetoe Intermediate.


Natalie Tantrum

Teacher of Violin and Viola
Natalie studied violin and chamber music in both Auckland, NZ and Manchester, UK, with special focus on baroque performance and piano trio repertoire. She has been active in many groups including the Goldberg Ensemble, Saskia Piano Trio, Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra and Auckland Chamber Orchestra, and recorded for both Radio NZ Concert and the BBC. Since 2015 she has been teaching violin and viola as part of the Tironui Music Trust team in Papatoetoe, as well as teaching at other schools across Auckland and performing in a wide range of community music groups. She is currently helping record a collection of contemporary worship songs in several languages of the Pacific, including Te Reo.

Miyo Yoon

Teacher of Violin

Miyo is a freelance violinist in Auckland. After completing her BMus degree with honours from Victoria University of Wellington, she has been playing professionally for over 15 years, including with the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra, Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra, Auckland Chamber Orchestra, and Orchestra Wellington. Miyo feels that teaching violin is a way of giving back, and what you learn in return is also invaluable. "You meet so many people, from all walks of life.  It's a privilege to be responsible for their musical learning."


Anda Vitola

Teacher of Violin

Anda believes that arts education is necessary for all young people to develop their own creative expression. Being given the opportunity to participate in music education builds community, cultural identity and personal growth.   Anda is a graduate of the Bachelor of Music programme, majoring in violin, from University of Auckland. During her study she developed a deep interest in music education and focused her degree in this field. Since, Anda has been teaching violin and viola, and musicianship for the past 8 years with extensive experience in ‘one on one’ and group lessons for children ranging from early childhood to high school level.


Wendy Yang

Teacher of Violin

Wendy was born in Taiwan and moved to New Zealand in 1995. She studied Bachelor of Science at the University of Otago and played for Southern Sinfonia while studying for her degree. After gaining her Bachelor of Science, she went on to pursue her Bachelor of Music at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music and won the Sydney Arts Performance Challenge in 2005. She moved back to Auckland in 2007 and gained her Master of Music in First Class Honours from the University of Auckland. Wendy has performed solo recitals in Auckland, Dunedin and Taiwan. She is also an active 1st violinist and a mentor at the Manukau Symphony Orchestra. Wendy has Level One Orff Schulwerk Certificate and enjoys teaching her students through singing and movements. She has been teaching violin and piano for over 15 years.

Band Programme


Tom Chester

Teacher of Trombone and Band Leader

Tom hails from Manchester in the United Kingdom. He studied trombone at the Royal Marines School of Music under Gordon Campbell and later served in the Band of Her Majesty’s Royal Marines for 6 years before settling in New Zealand. Upon reaching the shores of NZ, Tom took up the French Horn and, studying under Nicola Baker, gained his BMUS from the University of Auckland. During this time Tom served 6 years in the Royal New Zealand Navy Band in the position of Solo Horn and piano. In 2018, he turned his attention to teaching and freelancing. Currently he plays for (and arranges for) the Auckland Philharmonia, Auckland Chamber Orchestra and many other orchestras around NZ. He holds the position of Head of Brass at St Kentigern Boys’ School, along with teaching at St. Kentigern College and Baradene College. Tom’s passion lies in band education and repertoire. Since 2014 he has been Musical Director of the Manukau Concert Band, who won the New Zealand Concert Band Festival in both 2015 and 2016. He lives in Papatoetoe with his wife Nicola who is Papatoetoe born and bred and who was a pupil at Puhinui, Papatoetoe Intermediate and Papatoetoe High.


Katherine Clayton

Teacher of Brass instruments
Katherine was inspired to play the trumpet at the age of 11 and it has been an important part of her life ever since. She is a Registered Nurse by profession but  has enjoyed passing on the skills and joys of playing brass to the younger generation, previously for the Manurewa Junior School of Music and now for the Tironui Music Trust.
Katherine has been a longstanding stalwart of the Manukau Concert Band's trumpet section and has enjoyed being part of the band's strive for excellence, which has made it a regular Gold Award winner at the annual Concert Bands Association Festivals. Seeing a 9 year old child master their first notes on a trumpet or trombone, and helping  them make musical sense from the squiggles on the page,  gives Katherine great satisfaction.

Hannah Wiskari Griffiths

Teacher of Saxophone, Clarinet and Band Leader

Hanna Wiskari Griffiths is a Swedish musician and educator, based in Aotearoa since 2016. She studied the saxophone at the Academy of Music and Drama in Gothenburg and graduated from the Royal College of Music in Stockholm with a Bachelor's degree from the Folk Music Department.  Hanna has 20 years of experience as a freelance musician with numerous bands and projects and extensive tours both in Scandinavia and abroad. Alongside her performing, Hanna has always been a passionate educator, teaching both youth and adults.  Since 2010 Hanna has worked as an Artistic leader for Ethno - an international organisation that aims to celebrate diversity, learning music from musicians from all around the world. When Hanna moved to Aotearoa she decided to bring Ethno with her and is now organising Ethno NZ together with a dedicated team.  Both as a musician and a teacher Hanna is strongly driven by how music connects people, no matter what age, experience or cultural background.

Mark Hobson

Teacher of Saxophone and Clarinet

Albert Lee

Teacher of Percussion/ Resource Coordinator

Albert Lee studied Bachelor of Music (Jazz Performance in Piano/Drums) at the NZ School of Music in Wellington (Victoria University) and relocated to Auckland in 2017 to begin his full time teaching career. As a musician, he has had the privilege of winning many individual awards at national level as well as being selected to play with some of the top level bands in NZ during his high school and university years. His weekly students range from pre-school students to retirees which has allowed him to develop a great teaching skill set to successfully guide students of all types and abilities in their musical journey. As a teacher, Albert strives to give students a positive musical experience, one step at a time. With his teaching, the students will not only benefit from him in their learning of music, but they will also gain confidence, passion and pride in what they do.


Tim Sutton

Teacher of Trombone and Band Leader

Tim Sutton was appointed bass trombonist of the Auckland Philharmonia in 1990 right after his completion of a Bachelor of Music degree from Victoria University of Wellington. After his appointment Tim went to study for his Master of Music at De Paul University (Chicago) in the studio of Mr. Charles Vernon and more recently received a study grant to study with Brandt Attema in the Netherlands and Stefan Schulz in Berlin. Tim has played at the Pacific Music Festival 1991 under Leonard Bernstein, the Music Academy of the West summer school in 1993 and the Asian Friendly festival concert with the Kyushu Symphony Orchestra. He is a founding member of 175 East (contemporary music ensemble) and BonaNZa New Zealand’s premier (and only?) trombone quartet. He has also performed with the Queensland Symphony Orchestra, the NZSO, the Wellington Orchestra and Auckland Chamber Orchestra. Tim takes an active role in Auckland’s musical culture having performed as soloist with the Auckland Wind Orchestra and Manukau Symphony and is regularly asked to run workshops/sectional rehearsals for many schools in the Auckland area and holds teaching positions at Liston College and with the Tironui Trust since 2016.


Mary-Kate Thomson

Teacher of Flute

Mary-Kate graduated with her a Bachelor of Music degree in performance flute from The University of Auckland in 1987, where she studied with Amanda Hollis and Uwe Grodd. Also a registered nurse, her professional life sees her mixing nursing with her flute teaching and performing. She was actively involved with the Auckland Flute Society and since 2008 she has been busy working in Auckland schools as an itinerant flute teacher, and she regularly performs within St Matthews Chamber Orchestra.   Regarding her philosophy on teaching and music in general, she writes: “Musical success and a life time of pleasure, as well as socially and spiritually up-lifting and rewarding activity, looks different for everyone. Young people need a plethora of exposure to the art. For their part, a young person needs to put in their own time practising plus many years of constantly turning up for, and being a part of, things that are bigger than themselves. In this way students develop the many valuable and transferrable skills that music playing demands – time management, concentration, interpersonal skills etc. Music ought never be an exclusive or divisive club – it’s for everyone to enjoy and participate in.”


Scott McDowall

Teacher of Saxophone

Scott McDowall is a Clarinet & Saxophone teacher based in Pukekohe.  Currently he teaches at Dilworth School at 2 campuses, Kedgley Music Centre and Pukekohe High School. Scott completed a BMus in Clarinet Performance at Auckland University in 1997 and after deciding against a career in Rocket Science turned to music teaching full time.  He became a registered Music Teacher in 1998.  He plays in musical theatre productions fairly regularly and plays lead alto sax in The Off-Broadway Big Band, a professional group which regularly performs music across different genres and venues.  Scott also enjoys playing guitar and singing in a rock band when time allows and has dabbled in songwriting and production as well.  Outside of music Scott has interests in WWII, BMW and travel.


Our management


Catherine Blomfield MA (Hons) BEd (Hons)


Catherine Blomfield comes from an education background, having taught for 25 years in the Primary sector, the last nine as a music specialist in Intermediate schools. In 2007 she was part-time Primary Music Facilitator at Team Solutions, Auckland. On leaving the teaching profession, she embarked on further study, completing a Masters degree in Arts Management at Whitecliffe College of Arts and Design. Catherine is also heavily immersed in choral music, and sings soprano in various Auckland-based choirs such as Musica Sacra and Bach Musica. She has been a member of the Auckland committee of the New Zealand Choral Federation and has coordinated both The Kids Sing and The Big Sing competitions for school choirs. Catherine is passionate about continually striving to find new ways to help students and community groups engage with the orchestra. Her duties at the Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra included managing the annual APO Orchestral Summer School, APO Dance Project and various community events involving interaction with the orchestra. Catherine also enjoyed programming and managing APO 4 Kids and Kiwi Kapers education concerts.


Albert Lee

Resource Co-ordinator (and Teacher of Percussion)

Albert Lee studied Bachelor of Music (Jazz Performance in Piano/Drums) at the NZ School of Music in Wellington (Victoria University) and relocated to Auckland in 2017 to begin his full time teaching career. As a musician, he has had the privilege of winning many individual awards at national level as well as being selected to play with some of the top level bands in NZ during his high school and university years. His weekly students range from pre-school students to retirees which has allowed him to develop a great teaching skill set to successfully guide students of all types and abilities in their musical journey. As a teacher, Albert strives to give students a positive musical experience, one step at a time. With his teaching, the students will not only benefit from him in their learning of music, but they will also gain confidence, passion and pride in what they do.


Our Board


Dr. Justine Cormack

Chair and Music Advisor

Justine has served on the Tironui Music Trust board as the programme's artistic advisor since 2014 and was appointed to the executive chair role in 2019. As a freelance violinist, Justine collaborates broadly as soloist, chamber musician, guest-concertmaster and orchestral violinist. From 2004-2017 Justine was violinist and founding member of NZTrio, prior to which she was Concertmaster of the Auckland Philharmonia from 2000-2004. An active recording artist, Justine recently released Douglas Lilburn’s Piano and Violin Duos with Michael Houstoun. During her time with NZTrio, the group built up a varied catalogue of recordings, their CD Sway winning the ‘Classical Artist of the Year’ award in the 2017 Vodafone Music Awards. Through her Creative Performance Coaching business ListenFeelPlay Justine supports musicians worldwide to maximise their performance success and enjoyment through insightful mind+body awareness. A graduate of the University of Canterbury, Justine has a Masters degree from San Francisco Conservatory and a Doctoral degree from Stony Brook in New York. She has taught violin at Wellington’s Victoria University and held a position as Violin Lecturer at The University of Auckland.


Belinda Kusabs

Resource Teacher: Learning and Behaviour

Belinda has been a teacher for many years. After graduating with a BA in English from Auckland University followed by a Post Graduate Diploma in Teaching she taught in the primary sector. In 2000, Belinda became a Resource Teacher of Learning and Behaviour gaining a Post Graduate Diploma in Special Needs Teaching from Auckland University the following year. It was during her 12 year stint as Auckland Representative on the NZRTLB Association, latterly as National Coordinator, that Peter first approached Belinda asking her to use her contacts to find the first school for Tironui. The rest is history!


Jonathan Tommy

Consultant Engineer

Jonothan is a professional engineer with experience in the food industry as a project manager and general manager. He has also served as a member and chairman of Kelston Boys High School Board of Trustees.


Peter Hubscher

Co-founder and Treasurer

Peter Hubscher graduated from  Massey University with a degree in Food Technology from where he entered the  N.Z wine industry in Hawke's Bay.   He joined Montana Wines in 1973 as the company's Chief  Winemaker; there his role grew to that to that of Managing Director.  In that position he was awarded national recognition as Marketer of the Year and Executive of the Year.   Under his leadership  Montana became the country's leading commercial sponsor of the arts This investment brought great  benefit to the company and helped artistic groups throughout the country reach a wider audience.   He has held governance positions at Board level with  a range of commercial  and artistic organisations. These include The Ports of Auckland, Auckland Regional Holdings,  The N.Z School of Music, The New Zealand Symphony Orchestra, The N.Z. String Quartet and the World of Wearable Arts.   His family background  in music, with his father  being a foundation member of the NZSO and an itinerant string instrument teacher in Auckland, contributed to Peter's shared initiative with his wife.


Pam Hubscher

Co-founder and Secretary

Pam’s vocation in life has been in providing educational opportunities for people with few advantages, whether as a primary school teacher, teacher of English for migrant and refugee women, parent and foster parent. It was in these roles that she came to see what a powerful effect music could have in nearly every aspect of learning, and how being involved in musical activities brought so much joy to the participants. The concept of a performance music programme for children who would not otherwise have this opportunity seemed to fill a need in many primary schools, as well as combine Peter and her own particular interests. Pam's own involvement in music is as a keen listener rather than a performer.

Barbara Glaser

CEO of Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra

Barbara has been the CEO of the Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra since April 2006. She holds a B Mus and B.A. from the University of Melbourne, majoring in music performance and art history. She has taught music and been involved with orchestras for all of her professional career beginning by heading the brass department at PLC Melbourne and simultaneously founding a chamber orchestra.

Murray Rutherford

Retired Financial Consultant

A graduate of Victoria University (Commerce), Murray began is career as a Chartered Accountant. He has had roles in various financial advisory positions and most recently retired after 25 years with JBWere as a Private Wealth Advisor.

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